HSBC Global Poll Finds Seniors Continuing to Contribute

May 22, 2007 ( - A new global survey by HSBC about retirement issues found that "older people, those in their 60s and 70s, are vitally important to our families, communities and workplaces."

According to an HSBC research report , while those over 80 years old often have significant health issues, their younger counterparts in their 60s and 70s are in a position to contribute much more substantially to their communities in their retirements.

“The Future of Retirement survey findings have significant implications,” HSBC researchers wrote. “They show that people in their 60s and 70s are a tremendous asset to society, not generally a burden. As individuals, we need to recognize that there is the potential for good, healthy, active contributory life after 60, and we should prepare accordingly. Those in power, in our governments, communities and workplaces, need to ensure policies are put in place to enable older people to remain as active as they wish and are able.”

For the retirement study, HSBC interviewed 21,000 people within four age groups between 40 and 79, in 21 mature and transitional countries and territories around the world.

According to the report, the survey found those over 60:

  • Contribute to society – older people are contributing billions of dollars to the global economy in voluntary work.
  • Contribute to the workforce – older people are contributing to their communities and the economy through their labor and their taxes.
  • Contribute to their families – more older people are giving money, support and care to families and friends than there are receiving it.

Of all those surveyed, around a third are current volunteers or have volunteered in the past. Of those who volunteer, over 50% give half a day each week. In the USA and UK alone, this activity is worth some $23 billion a year, HSBC said.

Across the globe, large proportions of the over-60s remain in the workforce. In the mature economies, between a fifth and a half of men and women are still in work in their 60s, while in the USA a fifth of those in their 70s are still employed, HSBC said. In the transitional economies, there are large numbers active in their 60s and even 70s in the informal economy, though less in the modern service and manufacturing sectors.

According to the researchers, people all over the world have considerable contact with family members and said they feel responsible for the welfare of other members of their family. Globally, practical and personal support to older people in need is seen to be the responsibility of the family, while financial support is deemed to be the responsibility of the state as well.

Finally, the HSBC researchers said their survey painted a positive picture about how many older citizens are making out in their later years.

“The data from the survey shows that, far from being a time of misery, penury and frailty, life for most people in their 60s and 70s is characterized by good health, independence, control and a good quality of life,” the research report said. “In terms of how people feel and what they are capable of, we believe that 70 can be said to be the new 50. Employers need to recognize the value of older workers and that they can be a considerable asset to workplaces. Within families and communities, older people are giving more than they are receiving. Perhaps, however, the implications are greatest for the individual themselves. There is potential good, healthy, active contributory later life, which should be planned for.”